It's important to listen to your daughters without judgment and be a physical presence in their lives.
A little worry can be a good thing, especially when you're a teen. It makes the difference between logging out of Facebook to study for an exam or not. But the demands of modern life can leave young girls feeling worried and self-conscious even when they have no reason to feel that way.
The physical changes of adolescence play a huge role in teen anxiety. As the brain develops in the early stages, there's an increasing awareness of how other people see them with an unfortunate emphasis on the negative, which is why girls are so self-conscious. As they develop further, that self-awareness becomes more balanced and they understand that people aren't just seeking out their flaws.
Dr Sarah O'Doherty, a clinical psychologist specialising in adolescent issues, says that it's important to remember, however, that the changes teens go through aren't just physical. There are new demands placed on them, especially when they start secondary school, both by family and society.
They go from being directed in every aspect of their lives as children to being expected to go places alone, and manage money as well as their own daily timetable. This can be particularly hard on boys who can be on average a year or two behind girls in the developmental stage.
For the most part teens today worry about the same core issues as they did 20 years ago, but these worries are expressed in different ways.
"The internet has been a huge factor," says Dr O'Doherty. "Especially the instantaneous nature of it. It means that they literally have nowhere to hide."
The teenage years are a time of experimentation, which is part of their search for independent and awakening sexuality.
"The point is to make mistakes, learn from them and recover, but the internet doesn't allow that, because any mistakes are recorded forever, which can make it seem like there's no time to switch off and relax."
Dr O'Doherty also emphasises the importance of a healthy lifestyle when giving your daughter the tools to deal with anxiety or stress. Regular exercise, relaxation and a balanced diet are all scientifically proven to improve mood and relieve stress, as is a good night's sleep. Teens on average need at least nine hours of sleep a night as a result of the changes their brains are undergoing.
"A big problem today is that lots of teens just aren't getting enough sleep. They have laptops, computer consoles and TVs in their rooms and smart phones that never leave their hands, meaning their over stimulated before bed. This can leave them functioning under par and feeling exhausted, which is bound to have a knock-on effect to how they manage stressful situations."
So how do you know if it's time to step in as a parent? Naoise Kavanagh, spokesperson for Reachout.com, a website that advises on youth mental health says, "Watch out for dramatic changes. Every child is different, but you know your own. If they withdraw from things they like over a couple of weeks, be it fashion, music, sport or hanging with friends, this usually indicates that something specific is worrying them."
She advises helping your teen put their anxiety into context, whether it's an exam, a falling out with friends or losing a match.
"Encourage your child to be an all-rounder, so that they get satisfaction from lots of different areas of their lives. That means if one thing isn't going well, there are other things they can seek solace in, such as friends, family or extra-curricular activities."
While teens undergo a huge upheaval during adolescence, so do parents, who are also coming to terms with new problems. It's no longer possible to direct every aspect of your daughter's life as they become more independent. But it can be difficult when you feel they're making a mistake or there are things you can't get to grips with.
'The key is open, ongoing communication about issues which might be a source of anxiety to your teen," says Naoise. "Don't dive right in asking personal questions, especially about controversial issues. It's better to bring it up as a talking point in casual conversation, so that it normalises it – even if it's about underage drinking or self-harm."
The more they get used to talking about issues in general terms, the more they'll feel comfortable talking about specific things that cause them to worry.
It's important never to assume that you know what they're trying to say or that you know what it's like to be a teen today. It's also important to listen without judgment and be physically present in their lives – even if they say don't want you there. On this particular point, you definitely know better.
Jess O Sullivan is the editor of 'KISS' Magazine